Here’s today’s fun fact. Birdman, Baby, Stunna, whatever, is the owner of a few classic records.
Not too long ago, “#1 Stunna” came on at a cookout, instantly taking myself and others back to the summer of 2000.* Give or take a name, the “original” Cash Money Records was still intact. Juve’s 400 Degreez had done for CMR what The Chronic did for Death Row nearly a decade earlier – a massively successful album for a label attempting prove its worth on a national level. Baller Blockin’ happened. And “Bling Bling” was “turn up,” Hip-Hop’s phrase that paid.
Between stuffing faces with potato salad, burgers, hot dogs and steaks, sipping on whatever drink filled their red cups, taking a hit of the blunt in rotation or counting how many books they had in spades, everyone rapped along. It was Hip-Hop choir rehearsal.
“You know me – I don’t need no introduction and shit
Ride Bentley’s ’round the city on buttons, ya bitch
Arm hangin’, wrist blingin’ – just stuntin’ and shit
Drop the top, block is hot
Stay bumpin’, ya bitch
Beatrice get it right, don’t tangle and twist it
Hit the club every night, drunk – drinkin’ that Crissy
Niggas mad – don’t like it cause I’m bangin’ they bitches
When the light hit the ice, it twankle and glisten…”
Chances are you rapped those lyrics and maybe added hand movements, too. Several requirements go into a song earning the distinction of “classic.” But the ability to recite the lyrics off the top of the dome with no preparation more than a decade after the track’s release, and having a large group of people erupt in the same reaction helps its case.
Shortly after moving to the next record, a conversation I had with a few people about the song proved my train of thought wasn’t in the minority. They asked for my opinion on the song and Birdman in general. My answer was simple. No rapper on the planet had the combination of ignorance/confidence/swagger (I hate that word, but it fits here) to make “#1 Stunna” as believable as Baby did.
One person said Puffy, but there was no chance in hell of him sounding more at home on a Mannie Fresh-produced beat than Stunna. And that’s the thing, with a still very much commercially appealing Juvenile delivering an entertaining verse and bubbling star Lil Wayne doing the same, both took a backseat. Neither had kicker’s chance of tackling Adrian Peterson in bodying Baby on this particular song. Especially when, in his own words, “Nigga can’t out-stunt me when it come to these fuckin’ cars, nigga. Believe that!”
Birdman embodied the title. And truth be told, it’d be hard to argue for anything or anyone otherwise.
Bonus: This wasn’t the cookout in question, but it was a damn good one I attended in Westbubblefuck, Maryland, a few weeks back. The Big Ass F*cking Cookout is what it has become known as over the last four years. My homie DJ Marvalous had it rocking until some guy who eeriely resembled George Zimmerman (the skinny version) was knocked out cold and the paramedics were called forcing the cops to shut it down.
Photo: Getty Images
* – The most unique memory of I have of that song the seniors at my high school walking into that song at a pep rally before the first home football game of the year. I can’t lie. They looked like the coolest people on Earth for that short period of time.